The past couple weeks have been great, my lack of posting is proof of how busy I have felt! So to my loyal readers, Steve and Mom, sorry! ALSO JILL AND AMANDA!
I spent last weekend in Portugal. We were in the capital city of Lisboa. It was beautiful and busy but in an old fashioned kind of way. Everything felt older there especially for a capital city. The people were so friendly and most spoke English which was nice since portuguese is nearly impossible for me to understand when it is spoken! We were told most of them learn English from TV and movies. Unlike in Spain, TV is not dubbed over in portuguese, they play it in it’s native languages- which is usually English.
On Friday, we visited the Castle of San Jorge. It is an ancient Moorish Castle positioned on one of the highest points in the city overlooking the Tagus River. After visiting the castle, we walked through the old part of the city that had not been damaged by the numerous earthquakes that have hit Lisbon. The streets we super skinny and really windy making them nearly impossible to navigate, thankfully we were not alone! We had the rest of the afternoon and evening free. We walked toward the river and relaxed in the midst of live music and the sound of the waves.
That evening we ate at a burger place. I was so excited to get to Portugal and eat beef! It may sound silly but chicken and pork rein in Spain… so much that beef is essential nonexistent. Fina once told me no one would grill a kebab of beef because it would be too tough and would not taste good! LIES!:)
On Saturday, we left Lisbon for a day trip to a nearby town, Sintra. In Sintra, we visited the Pena National Palace. Like the Castle of San Jorge, this palace is built at the top of [very tall] hill. Our bus dropped us off at the wrong palace so we had a nice hike up to the palace. It actually was a nice hike, it was cool weather and gorgeous surroundings but I don’t prefer surprise hikes. The palace was beautiful. Prior to being a palace, it was a monastery. The mix of architecture and decorations were so interesting. After passing through the first gate, you see a portuguese gargoyle that represents life.
After returning to Lisbon, we again had a free evening. We wanted to see more of Lisbon so we set off down the main street towards the river. The streets are beautiful there. The sidewalks are paved in simple mosaics, every block and a half or so there is some sculpture or plaza and there is the constant sound of jazz music. We ended our walk at a local restaurant we found on a side street, I again had steak. YUM!
On Sunday, we got started very early. We had a relatively busy day and a 5-6 hour bus drive back to Sevilla. We visited the national carriage museum, the Belém Tower, the Monastery of Saint Jerome, the Monument of the Discoveries and Pastéis de Belém (to try the local specialty custard pies). Sunday was a sunny, breezy, beautiful day.